Caris LeVert to return for senior season

Dylan Burkhardt
on

Caris LeVert announced his intentions to return to Michigan for his senior season today.

“Over the past few months, I have spent a lot of time thinking about my future,” LeVert said in a statement. “My family and I, along with the coaching staff, gathered as much information as possible. After considering my options, I am excited to announce I will return for my senior year. Coming back allows me to keep working towards my Michigan degree and take the next steps in my development as a player, teammate and a leader of our program. Michigan is a very special place and the college experience only comes once. The future is bright and I am blessed to be part of it.”

 

LeVert was projected as a fringe first round prospect by many media outlets, but is still recovering from a broken bone in his foot. He was injured on January 17th in the waning seconds of Michigan’s win over Northwestern.

He told reporters at Michigan’s banquet that he had his walking boot removed last week and was hopeful to resume workouts in May.

ESPN’s Chad Ford recently wrote that LeVert should return to school and it seems that LeVert heeded that advice. He recently told reporters that it ‘wouldn’t make sense’ to declare for the draft if he would be a second round pick.

LeVert had some ups and downs as Michigan’s lone go-to player in his junior season, and he struggled to find consistency with his mid-range jumper, but he was one of the most versatile players in the country. Before his injury, he led the Wolverines in almost every statistical category including 14.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game.

LeVert’s return means that, as things stand today, Michigan could return its entire roster from last season. Senior forward Max Bielfeldt has been exploring fifth-year graduate transfer options, but has also left the door open to a possible return.

The Wolverines will also add Williams College transfer Duncan Robinson and German stretch big man Moritz Wagner to the roster and are still recruiting 2015 prospects Jaylen Brown and Kenny Williams.

  • Beilein quote

    “We love coaching Caris and are excited he has decided to come back for his final season,” said U-M Head Coach John Beilein. “His injury last season was unfortunate, but he never wavered in his commitment as a leader, a student or with his rehabilitation. Caris is a special person both on and off the court and we are proud of what he has accomplished. The best is yet to come for a young man like Caris LeVert.”

    • Willmac7496

      What does this mean for Kenny Williams, who seems to have legit interest in Michigan, and Jaylen Brown, who seems to be less likely but is still considering Michigan? What are their options on the roster, as you would likely not want to turn away players like these two but Michigan is out of scholarships?

      • brandon

        On Mgoblog, they have a quote from William’s coach saying there still is room for Williams. My guess is that Hatch will take a medical redshirt, probably his suggestion. I don’t think Beilein would force him to take it.

  • gobluemd16

    Woo hoo! Great decision, Caris. Can’t wait for next season already. Those who stay…

  • psickert1

    Thank you GOD, we will have one great senior day!!! This team will be fun to watch. He should take out a insurance policy and if Jaylen Brown comes he should as well. That way they will be millionares regardless.

  • Mattski

    Yay. Very excited to see what this team can do next year.

  • Corperryale

    Great, great news, of course. Next year should provide the platform for LeVert to further develop and showcase his abilities, and perhaps work his back into the lottery discussion. At this point, I would consider LeVert a front-runner for B10 POY (along with maybe only Trimble and Ferrell).

    I think this should also be a positive in Jaylen Brown’s eyes since it means he would be joining a tourney team with an unlimited ceiling and fewer question marks.

    Unlike last year, however, next year’s theme won’t be about “the big three” (or even the “big four” with Brown) but about the team’s immense depth and versatility. With LeVert back, I forward to Michigan contending for a Big Ten title and making a deep run in the dance.

  • bobohle

    Food for thought: Since he’s in the Honors Society now,could he be eligible for an Academic Scholarship for next year?

    • No. That isn’t a) how Order of the Angell works or b) how NCAA scholarship counts work.

      • bobohle

        Thanks. I was just curious. I was trying to think of ways that Jaylen Brown could still become a Wolverine.

  • countourzealous

    Hooray! Great news!

  • JosephG

    Great news !

  • Fab 5 Legends

    I am glad he decided to return, there is unfinished business. UM is now a legit team to make the tourny & go deep. I can also see us contending for the BigTen Title

  • JosephG

    Can not wait to see how team is constructed, starting five .. Key playing time etc…

  • bobohle

    Jaylen Brown come on up. You would be the final piece to a team competing for a Championship.

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    Yeah, baby POY! Caris you made a great decision! Lets win it all this year, guys! The best roster in the land.

  • Willmac7496

    would it not look bad if they make Hatch take a medical hardship waiver if either Williams or Brown were to decide to come?

    • JosephG

      I keep seeing the sediment everyone …hearing spike or hatch ….

    • Jeff Pancake

      No, it won’t look bad. Hatch can still be a team manager, practice, still get a free education. Just won’t be able to play.

  • Good ….. for everybody, but particularly Caris.

  • Dr_ZC

    This is great news, but I cannot help recalling a chapter from the “Fab Five” book, where the then current Michigan players on the roster were counting on their possible minutes of playing time.

    We will be loaded next year, no question. We will have back the nucleus of starting five at the end of the season, Spike, Zak, MAAR, Dawkins and Doyle, and we will be getting Caris, Walton, Wilson, Robinson, and Wagner. Add last year’s subs in Cam and Donnal, and we will have a dozen players demanding playing time.
    Given the fact that there will still be 40 minutes to distribute and the fact that JB does not play more than 10 players in his rotation, We will have some unhappy customers in our team, and it is possible that this will lead to attrition.
    I am thinking that Walton, Caris, and Zak will need 30 minutes per game. This will leave 110 minutes to distribute among 9 players. Spike will be coming off injury, so he might even redshirt, but I can see that Dawkins and MAAR will want to see 15-20 minutes per game each, as they showed promise. This will leave 60-50 minutes to be given to 5 players. There is no way JB will play 2 bigs at the same time, so It would be interesting to see where everybody else fits, including the newcomers, Wagner, Robinson and Wilson.
    The way I see it, there will be a lot of competition for minutes. The good part will be in practices, where we will have 2 legitimate starting squads fighting against each other. This will improve the team’s potential to extremely high levels. The bad will be that some players might see no hope in getting the playing time they think they deserve, and this will create attrition. I see Donnal and Cam transferring, based on what I saw last year in their performances. I just hope we blow teams away early in games, so JB can give each player at least 15 minutes per game.

    • UMTigersWingsLions

      Maybe a UK type rotation? two 5’s?

      • Dr_ZC

        Could be, I do not know… I am not sure JB will like to do that, as this might disrupt the continuity of scoring at the wing. One thing is for sure, however. We will have more wings than a Madden Thanksgiving turkey :). UM was known as the point guard university. Now with Wagner, Caris, Zak, MAAR, Dawkins and Robinson we can have 5 wing players starting like the flying illini of 1988-89.

      • MAZS

        Zero chance. Not Beilein’s style or history. Just having 9-10 get regular minutes will be a change from Beilein’s normal substitution pattern.

    • Jeff Pancake

      I don’t see minutes as being as big of an issue as people are making it out to be. People are so set on saying so and so is going to get 30 – 35 minutes a game. In all reality it is going to depend on matchups and how people are playing. So there will be some games that MAAR gets 3 – 5 minutes and there may be some games he gets 20 minutes. The same can be said for almost any player. Injuries happen every year, matchup problems happens, people get sick, have off games, get in foul trouble. Not one person guessed that MAAR and Dawkins would be starting and getting lots of playing time at the beginning of last year. So whatever you think is going to happen is probably going to change.

    • James

      Judging by previous playing time, minutes are earned. Jordan Morgan always struggled to start, despite starting as a freshman. Smotz was likely told to expect less PT when McGary came in and transferred (reading tea leaves there). If all the current players are expecting significant PT, then we’ll see a couple transfers by the end of the year. Beilein has never played 2 big men together because we never had a big that could effectively play the 4, save McGary. Wagner and/or Wilson may or may not be able to handle that position.

  • UMTigersWingsLions

    How about 2 5’s? Caris, DW, Doyle, Aubrey, Wagner…and Zak, Spike, MAAR, Donnal, Robinson. KC and DJ subs for both.

  • ChaseGoBlue

    Is Hatch taking a medical redshirt the only way we can get any more recruits?

    • UMTigersWingsLions

      We got our team…game on baby!

  • A2JD

    I keep reading that Michigan is still in contention for Jaylen Brown. How does this shake down, scholarship-wise?

    • Willmac7496

      I think their only options are taking someone off scholarship or having Hatch accept a Medical Hardship waiver

    • Dr_ZC

      Folks, if JB and the coaching staff are still recruiting for J Brown, I am willing to bet that they know something we do not, and most likely it is somebody transferring.
      Hatch is not going anywhere. We all know Beilein is a man of integrity and true to his word. He will not want to be accused that Brown was the price recruit worthy of taking Hatch’s scholarship in whatever form, after all the publicity surrounding Hatch last year. Even if Austin himself wants to volunteer his scholarship to somebody else, he will be stopped by Beilein.

      The real question is: Let us say that Brown Joins Michigan. Where is he going to play? I am sure he would like to start, as he is an one and done. But where? Next to Caris and Zak? This can hurt team chemistry, for sure. Who will take the most shots, play the most minutes? Brown or Caris/Zak? I think our “team is on the floor”: gentlemen, unless somebody has already cleaned their dorm room.

      • James

        When did Beilein promise Hatch would never be moved to a medical scholarship? News to me.

      • MAZS

        So you don’t believe Beilein when he says he doesn’t expect any attrition–read, transfers out–but you do believe that we won’t medically redshirt Hatch, even though Beilein has never said that?

        • Dr_ZC

          Attrition is outside of JB’s control. 20 year old kids change their minds every day these days. Medically redshirting Hatch, is in his control, but not in his best interest publicity-wise. Rest assured that the moment he does this, the news will be frontine on ESPN. Haters would come out of the woodworks to criticize him being no different than some sleaze recruiters, who do not hesitate to trade talent for dignity. I like JB for what he stands, and for keeping his promise to Hatch. He wells up every time he talks about this wonderful young man in public. My opinion is that being the man that he is, will not fiddle with Austin’s status in favor of an one and done athlete.

          • MAZS

            Beilein is the one who has said that he doesn’t expect there to be any transfers just a week ago. If he felt there was a possibility, he would have said nothing. The writing is becoming clearer that there may be (has to be) some change in Hatch’s status if Brown or Williams commit. I get why you don’t like it, but you greatly overstate any blowback that might occur. The rest of the nation doesn’t care. Hatch may choose to pay his way for a year, or he retains his scholarship via a medical redshirt.

      • Corperryale

        While the odds of getting Brown may be slim, I see no indication that the staff has given up on him or rescinded his offer or has otherwise made the representations you suggest re: Hatch. I suspect that — as others have noted — if Brown wants the spot, he will get it, and that’s as it should be.

        I also expect Brown would start from day one and that the added firepower would help, not hurt, team chemistry. (Who doesn’t want to be part of a final four team?) I imagine that LeVert, Brown, and Irvin would each start and play starter-level minutes, assuming everybody is healthy. True, the logjam at the four would increase somewhat but I don’t think anyone else has actually “earned” any minutes at that spot yet — Wagner and Robinson haven’t played a single minute, Wilson might be a five, and Chatman still has a lot to prove. People act like a Wagner redshirt is out of the question while (weirdly) assuming Brown wouldn’t be guaranteed a starting spot. By contrast, I think JB would sooner redshirt Wagner than relegate Brown to the bench for his sole season in college.

        Think of 2015 Michigan as one of those teams with near-limitless depth that opposing teams find maddening. (Something we’ve never had before.) Three or four stars take a rest and a bunch of other guys that weren’t even in the Only Colors/Inside the Hall/Bucky’s5th/11W scouting report step up to drain a few threes or dunk a few balls. It will drive them crazy.

        • bobohle

          Couldn’t have said it better myself. You saved me a typing cramp. Thanks.

      • A2JD

        I agree up unto the point about Beilein refusing to let Hatch give up his scholarship. He might want to discuss it further but I think he could be swayed if Hatch’s agrument was strong enough. As for where Brown would play, I could see him at the 4. He’s not 6’9″ but he’s pretty solidly built.

  • Nick

    Happy for Caris and the team but disappointed if this indeed means no Kenny Williams.

    • UMTigersWingsLions

      We have an awesome team. in the words of coach Norman Dale..(Hoosiers) Be happy with who we are..not who we are not.

  • bobohle

    In case you guys missed it. Thornton commited early to Puke for 2015 instead of 2016 class. Eliminates 2016 target.

  • Phil

    I have read that Spike might take a redshirt next season if he is not ready after surgery